Should I Stop Buying Nativities? The Collector’s Dilemma

Can you have too much baby Jesus in your life?

Mary DeVries

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Seen in a shop window in Spain. A ham nativity. Photo by author.

Puerto Rico was where I first realized I might have a problem. Arriving on Christmas Day and leaving on New Year's was like sending an alcoholic on a booze cruise. So many three Kings — not to mention the traditional Mary, Joseph, and the baby Jesus — offered up for sale.

“Mom, why would you even consider buying another nativity? Don’t you already have like four of them?”

Four? As if baby girl. Did you sleepwalk through the last week at our house? I know you’re a liberal arts major and freshman year finals are a killer but can’t you count?

In fairness, I had to add them up myself. If you ignore the nativity-based ornaments on the tree — a multiple of four I couldn’t be bothered to catalog — there were ten distinct nativity sets at the time of this trip. My collection has nearly doubled since then.

I’m not a natural collector. I hate spending money and abhor clutter. But Nativities are my weakness. Nothing triggers acquisition lust like donkeys and a manager. I blame it on a childhood spent in the Philippines. Now there’s a country that knows how to Christmas.

Maybe collecting nativities is a necessary relief valve for my innate frugality. I…

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Mary DeVries

The older I get, the less I know. That won’t stop me from writing about everything and anything under the sun. Join me in delighting and despairing about life.